What are functional benefics and malefics? How is this calculated?
First you have to get a better understanding of what a so called “functional” benefic or malefic is. And you need a good understanding of what “benefic” and “malefic” means.
Benefic means generous and gentle (saumya).
Malefic means strict and strong (krura).
Venus, Jupiter, Mercury and the bright Moon are ALWAYS benefic – listed in descending order of intensity.
Mars, Saturn, Sun, and the dark Moon are ALWAYS malefic – in descending order.
Now I can speak about “functional malefics”
The idea is that a naturally benefic planet might temporarily be in a less generous mood, or visa versa, a naturally malefic planet might temporarily be in a less strict mood. This depends on the natural relationship of a given planet to the planet who rules the rising sign. The rule is that the planets owning houses 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, and 12 from the root sign (trikona) of the planet owning the rising sign are more favorable, the others naturally more unfavorable. The modification to the rule pertains to the distance of the planets from one another in an individual chart. If a planet is 2, 3 or 4 signs on either side of another planet, the relationship improves.
I have not tried to teach you this in detail, only give you the idea. To learn it in detail takes at least an hour of explanation.
In any case, a natural benefic, for example, is ALWAYS benefic – but the “functional” or temporary conditions in that chart modify the natural status of the planet to make it more or less benefic than it normally is.
– Vic DiCara